Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Positive State Of Mind

So I think I've finally got a handle on my head space. Lesson learned. Period.

Bobby Chiu, a very, very inspirational artist, and universal mentor to every up and coming prostitute in this business once said 'I'd rather dig ditches than have an art job I hate.' and while that nominally made sense to me and I agreed with him, I appreciate it all the more now.

Here is my working theory, being tied up as an artist on Hairspray turned me into a spectator. And while on the one hand it is relieving at any point to be able to answer the question most often asked of anybody 'what's up?' with something as meaty and substantial and artistic as working on a theatrical production, at the same time it's as frustrating as being benched when the game is on the line. And in the art world the game always seems to be on the line. 

But the key thing is, when you don't feel in control of your own output, your own subject matter, your own source material, you turn from participant to spectator. On an emotional level. The less you participate and the more you spectate, the more prone you are to criticise.

Like, would I really care what Christopher Nolan does with the batman franchise if I was bogged down in directing my own adaptation of Daredevil? Hells no to the no no, even though the plum assignment is Batman, I'd channel all that energy into making Daredevil the dark horse that wins the race. You walk instead of talk, know what I'm saying?

And obviously, it is far less likely that I will ever become a blockbuster director than say a self sustained artist. But when I am unable to take my hands and create the art I want to create, I open my mouth and criticise what others are doing. Because it's easy. Because it's fucking easy. And it's a vice. Criticism has it's place, but it's a very small place, over in the corner.

To my credit, the negative state of mind, the impotent critic only really took over at the end of my run on Hairspray, it took a long time to chip away my positive resolve, and unfortunately lingered after the stimulus.

But I feel good now, things are looking up. And so I'm going to just write about positive shit for the next month or so, whenever I can. Because 'how you feel is your fault' as Horstman put down in law, and I want to be at fault for feeling good.

So, I watched John Carpenter's 'Escape from New York' last night, John Carpenter is pretty fucking amazing, and Escape from New York may just be the originator of the whole 'Batman: No Man's Land' easily the best thing DC has ever produced, and immediately after watching escape from new york, I started re-reading DC's Vertigo Imprint's DMZ. I swear the cream of western comics is on the Vertigo imprint, and DMZ may just be one of the best works ever.

Set post 9/11 it depicts Manhattan Island, New York as a 'De Militarized Zone' in an American Civil War. On the Jersey Shore across the Hudson you have the FSA 'the free states of America' and on Long Island you have the USA, the presumably legitimate contender in the conflict. But it really isn't about the war, the series follows Matthew Ross, intern that suddenly becomes the only embedded journalist in Manhatten, and it is just about his life, how he lives, survival.

And it's great. It's fucking great. It moves very freely, compositionally beautiful, characters aren't trying to be anything, other than characters, it has those elements of fantasy, and is above all like most people, bipartisan, unpolitical, the stark reality that most people, under any circumstances, just try to live their lives.

And while adaptations kind of jerk me off, DMZ serves to remind me why I love the medium of comics so much, there is just so much great stuff, and so much potential for great stuff in this medium that they can never adapt them all, there will always be hidden treasure, and to boot, while it would cost these days a budget of $240 million or something to adapt DMZ into a bad movie, it costs the same to make DMZ the comic as it does Batman, Superman, Naruto, One Piece, Persopolis, American Splendour... you name it, the costs are just writer and artists time, some inks, some computers, and then it's all just printing and distribution.

It's an amazing medium. So fucking good. Just so fucking good.

Monday, July 30, 2012

"You Come All Over Yourself, Don't You"

was said to me by Ashley 'Grapes' Holmes. A border from the year above me, and perhaps remains the single greatest piece of feedback I ever recieved. It was quite public, infront of my respected friends, everybody laughed, I'd been burned badly, I had no comeback, I was quite shocked, I knew it, I knew it, I knew it.

And believe it or not, I really enjoyed it, even at the time. It was a great call. It was fucking excellent. I had never liked Grapes, until that point. I'm sure it was in part an expression of our mutual distrust of eachother. But really it was the piece of public humiliation I needed.

I'm sure child psychologists would disagree. And I really wish I had a photo of Year 10 tohm, who was spelling his name 'tΩ', because I know the picture that tells you everything you need to know about me in highschool, but to paint a picture - I was at a private school, did debating, was on the cross country team, was doing 1/2 Maths Methods, had restiched the buttons on my blazer to make it a double breaster, basically, a complete fucking tool. An overconfident 'know nothing' as honest Abraham Lincoln would have called me.

And yet, if Grapes hadn't said that to me that day, and pulled my head out of my arse, and through my friends raucous laughter realised what version of me they had been endorsing through their unvoiced silence, I'd be one of those know nothings that run this fucking country, and every fucking country.

I still marvel at it's perfection, I wish I could remember what I had been ranting about at the time, but he just had his head resting on crossed arms on his desk as if hung over and he said with every indication of annoyance in his voice 'I bet you come all over yourself. Don't you.' The choice of words and imagery, and the speaker, everything aligned to actually cut through to me, where a mature and respectful person would not.

I wish I could say I had left that tool back in year 10, except I know I'm prone to being that tool whenever I think I can get away with it. I wish I had somebody like Grapes around today, who just didn't care enough about my standing in the world to actually speak their mind. All feedback really is a gift, and I guess the strange paradox of my priveleged background is that the closer somebody resembles me, and in particular 'my achievements' the less inclined I am to listen to their feedback.

It's because I say things with the private knowledge that I don't know what I'm talking about, but this doesn't come across (and why I would discourage any student from doing debating) and I criticize, knowing privately, how little I actually care (not about the person, but about whatever I'm critiqueing), and I disrespect others because I privately know how little I respect myself and my own abilities (the major downfall of the 'golden rule').

I was once on a tram and this big thug of a Neo-Nazi was ranting and accosting some international student, and nobody (myself included) was saying anything, and then this little old lady said to him 'that's enough, please be quiet you horrible man!' and he was shamed and shut up. And just like you might assume the only thing that can reach a thug is a bigger thug, when infact it's a little old lady, sometimes the only people I can listen to is not somebody more charismatic than myself, but a bogan.

Sunday, July 29, 2012


So I've been going through a reclusive phase, I can't remember the last social event I went to, I guess it must have been a fortnight ago now. I literally can't remember what I would have done. I regret not scheduling any downtime between hairspray and my next exhibition. I think with my travel deadlines it was an impossibility anyway, I think I really just needed a week to play video games and catch up on movies solid.

I have caught up on some movies, comedies mostly, I hadn't seen Blades of Glory yet, I can't believe how long it took me to watch that. And I finally saw Black Dynamite, which I think is the movie I've been waiting my whole life to see.

But what I've been lacking is a video game to just dissappear into for like a solid week, and I can't see that happening till after I return from the US in November. Maybe in September I'll find some time, but I'll be marathon training too, and I do intend to get a new job, so who knows if my lifestyle will afford that simple pleasure.

Anyway, I think my wet blanket is finally starting to dry out. One huge benefit of hosting an exhibition is getting in touch with pretty much everybody you know. And one such person in my far away club gave me a call today, and it was just who I needed to hear from.

He was one of my highschool friends from the 'expelled from elite Melbourne Private school club' that were generally amongst my favorites. An entreprenuer and in many ways my complete opposite, but it's becoming more confusing as to what my complete opposite is these days, he and I for all our differences have so much common ground.

It was just refreshing, makes me feel like socialising again. I'm pretty lucky, everywhere I go I'm with people I love, on paper it makes no sense that I want to retreat. I guess the thing is that hairspray ate up all of my precious solitude time, my downtime. I actually made it to every gig, every birthday party, every exhibition launch while working on it. What I didn't get to do was sit alone at home with the dog and draw what I want to draw between watching Wil Ferral movies and playing video games.

The last four days have been spent doing studies, and I'm itching, itching to get into my exhibition pieces, but a got another 24 hours and plenty of studies in the pile, so here's to looking forwards and upwards.

Dumb, Drunk & Dissappointing

For I guess one quadrant of behavioral preference amongst Australians, free to air TV is really a two horse race - ABC and SBS.

With the advent of digital television, for me it's a ten horse race, and while ABC3 is one of the channels I tune into most (due to a professional and moronical interest in cartoons) I would probably rank ABC as dead last.

I mean, my opinion is borderline invalid I think not just to most Australians, but most people of the world. For one criterion I mark channels downwards for is newscontent, and my mind definitely draws a line between the word 'ABC' and 'news'.

But I was genuinely interested in ABC2's run of 'Dumb Drunk & Racist' when I started watching it, I couldn't help but think of it as ABCs-answer-to-SBSs-Go-Back-To-Where-You-Came-From. But having watched most of it, barring a sudden change in formula for the last episode it is more like to become - Light-hearted-Q-&-A, and I must disclose, Q&A is (in my opinion) the worst* show on television. One of the few shows that compells me to change the channel the longer I am exposed to it.

Both shows I feel are apologetic, their downfall is their attempted to be balanced, to show multiple points of view on issues that don't deserve it. Such issues are climate change, refugees, gay marriage etc. etc.

Dumb, Drunk & Racist promised to be compelling TV that allowed Australians to view themselves through the lens of another culture. It's recurring opening sequence was immediately made of the myth dispelling stuff of showing us that we aren't as important or beloved as we think we are. That we have a real perceptual problem overseas, and in particular India.

I guess the risk was always in the format of the show (bringing 4 Indian Nationals on a tour of Australia) that it would end up being a long public apology that 'most' Australians, 'aren't' racist.

And one could criticise the groundbreaking, world-first, 'Go Back To Where You Came From' as ultimately preaching to the choir, but even so, it held up a mirror, to me, somebody who for the past 7 years or something has been volunteering with a refugee, that may learn something about the inhumanity of this issue.

For me, Go Back To Where You Came From really demonstrated that the Australian public has just about no fucking idea of what refugees are, and even though it ultimately concluded that 'the issue of boat people is complex' its facts were facts, facts that are little consulted, little reported and little discussed in the public sphere. Like how expensive getting a boat to Australia is. That Malaysia is a non-signatory to the UN charter on refugees. Or how bad conditions are in other countries that make migration to Australia attractive.

And it was designed for an Australian Audience. Dumb, Drunk & Racist is pretty much the reverse. It is designed (I assume) for an Australian Audience. It takes 4 Indian Nationals and presents them with facts about Australia so that they will ultimately conclude that Australians are not on the whole 'Dumb, Drunk & Racist' but decent folk. And we the viewers can feel good knowing that another nations problem with us has little substance.

The arguments are beguiling, for example, on the subject of racially motivated attacks against Indians it argues a selection bias. If somebody is assualted, it is a simple case of assualt, a normal 'vanilla' crime. If that somebody is an Indian national though, it becomes a racial assualt, a racially motivated crime, picked up by Indian media and unfairly carried into hysteria. Furthermore, Melbourne based Indian Activist when saying 'the assailents are saying to the victim "go back to where you came from you Indian" I don't see how it can't be racially motivated' is wrong to draw such conclusions from such flimsy evidence, since the same assailants saying to a fat victim 'go back to Burgar King you fat cunt.' would lead pretty much nobody to the conclusion that the victim had been targeted because of a cultural hatred of fat people.

And it may be a fact that our legal system has found no evidence of racially motivated crimes in the cases covered by Dumb Drunk & Racist, but here the program becomes the equivalent of taking 4 citizens of Alabama to Turkey and showing them that 'Islam is okay'.

The real source of dissappointment is that Dumb, Drunk & Racist isn't challenging to the viewers, or even educational. Joe Hildebrandt is a fine ambassador for Australia, but you can tell that by the second episode he has formed a relationship with his guests that makes them inclined to accept his (educated) point of view before the cultural exposures have even taken place. By contrast the guests of 'Go Back To Where You Came From' were left more often alone exposed to the realities of refugee life. When the host did interact it was more in a Jeff Probst from Survivor type tribal council way, asking questions to provoke, without being leading.

I think similar to what Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins and I assume Christopher Hitchens attack in the debate of religosity, that moderates protect the fanatics, just as gun enthusiasts protect the rights of gun mass murderers. Dumb, Drunk & Racist ultimately leaves us safe in our stance of 'we're not really racist, just the worst of us, can't let a few bad apples ruin the whole barrel.' etc.

But a few bad apples do ruin the whole barrel, the show itself interviews some of Sydney's Islamic residents whom themselves directly attribute many of the woes of their ongoing existence to September 11, where a small number of Muslims were able to put themselves forward as Islamic Ambassadors to the world. That's what every practicing Muslim and person of Middle Eastern appearance has to live with as the result of Al Kaeda, because their identity was hijacked. So too, do Australian's really need to understand that the world doesn't judge us by our best, but by our worst.

The show really should have been ABC's answer to 'Go Back To Where You Came From' where 4 proud patriotic Australians are taken on a tour of India and exposed to what the world really thinks of us. I could see 'Go Back To Where You Came From' having an imediate and positive impact by preaching to the choir, if at the very least making its viewers more inclined to open that email from GetUp! requesting they sign a petition or email their local politician or donate to an add campaign on all things relating to boat people.

What will Dumb Drunk & Racist do? It will only make well meaning, educated Australians more inclined next time an American objects to a minstrel routine on our television sit back and say 'well the Yanks just don't get our Australian sense of humour.'

I guess though that at least in its lightheartedness, it is nowhere near as bad as Q&A, just dissappointing.

*yes, I am including 'Psychic TV'


By now my artwork has debuted on stage and been through a couple of showings at the Ballafornian production of hairspray. Easily the biggest art project I've done, it feels immensily larger than just another notch on my way upwards and simultaneously ethereal, transparant, flimsy.

It dominated my waking thoughts for so long, and it was perpetually the answer to the common exchange of pleasantry's 'what's up?' hairspray was up, all the time. And as much as I dragged my way through the immense workload, and looked constantly out whatever window was handy and dreamed of what I could be drawing, I wouldn't even say 'never again'.

Normally there's this most anxious period of the publishing gap, between when you finish a work and put it in the public domain, and when you finally get some feedback. That's where all your confidence abandons you, you feel the terror and anxiety and then whether the reaction comes back good or bad, you finally have something to deal with and you can move onwards and upwards.

For me though, since my artwork was just one part of a whole, all that feedback came already long before it hit the stage. For me the job was really done when I sent the files off to the director. The anxiety stopped when the director came back happy. That was job well done.

And I learned some stuff, to boot.

1. I work best under short deadlines. 'The work expands to fill the time available' really is true of me. I probably did the lion's share of work in the last 2 weeks. But that isn't fair to put it down to procrastination, it depends what you mean by 'work' the drawings are exhausting, the tracing, scanning, painting etc is time consuming but a borderline mindless activity to me. I don't enjoy colouring, which is why I never got good at it, and with 145 pieces to colour in, I was never, EVER going to do colour tests and go through swatches to paint them. So while in terms of time spent doing things, the last two weeks saw me step it up, that is discounting how taxing it is to just think of things to draw.

2. Procrastination is it's own animal. If I did such a project again, I like to think I'd be smarter about it, like read the script, sit down at catered meetings with the hair, makeup and costume crew and get unified early, then have all the drawings done well ahead of time so I could dust my hands and get back to my own projects. But really, professionally I may well reach a stage one day where an agent hands me 9 scripts to choose from, but I doubt that is any time soon. I am going to be restricted by subject matter, even when writing my own comics. Because there will be pain in the arse scenes that have to take place and you have to draw even when calling the shots. And it's taxing, it can be the equivalent of drawing as if you are in an open field to drawing submerged in custard with ants crawling up your nostrils.
Procrastination is the wanton action of seeking relief from the genuine emotional pain of drawing boring tedious shit. Like figuring out the 12th way to show kids in 60's attire having fun, after you've given all you've got to draw 11.

What's funny is not so much that you procrastinate, it's how I procrastinate. You get in your head that you should be working on hairspray, so if you do your own drawings, or go for a run or something, you aren't trying to work on hairspray you are moving away from it. Does that make any sense? so you procrastinate in ways that ensure you aren't helping any cause. You walk to a fast food outlet and read the papers their while eating.

You play a computer game.

You watch episodes of Qi on the internet.

But you don't do anything that would make tomorrow a little bit easier, a little bit less depressing, the only thing you do to move forward are those short bursts of work between procrastination.

I don't think I'll stop procrastinating ever, I just need to be honest enough with myself to do so productively.

3. Cartoon style looks cool but is boring. The style I like to draw in is fun to draw in. I can do i no end, I get immense satisfaction out of doing it. The moment I saw the set design for hairspray I knew this style was completely inappropriate and that cartoon was in. And in a way it was a godsend, because with 140 or so images to get done, cartoon (designed for animation) is one of the few ways to get it all done, but man is it boring. I think I won't be in a hurry to work on animation.

4. I can create things for others to love. That's the big achievement of hairspray. I mean I can actually be a professional, I can do something that I would never have chosen to do myself. (this opportunity fell in my lap) my hands, my drawing ability can literally be for hire. I didn't know that before, I only suspected. And so, there I have it. The artist I am now is infinitely more capable of doing this job than the one that said 'yes' to this job 8 months ago now in a cafe on Degraves st.
I really hope most of the art I do is at that intersection between art I love, and art other people love, but I feel much much more confident knowing that I can create art for something I'm really not into at all (eg. musical theatre) and it to be loved by those who are.

All that remains is seeing it on stage myself.

Saturday, July 28, 2012


There's two artists at the moment I hunger for more from.

1. Dave Crosland (aka King Gum)

2. Nelson Daniel

They are just doing great work. One of the pities of visual art is that they take hours/days/weeks/months to prepare and only seconds to consume. It would be nice to work in a studio one day with artists whose work makes me this hungry, and I can just savour the process.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


Having more or less finished invites, I mean now and then people will pop into my head that make me go 'oh gee golly gosh, how could I have forgotten to invite...' and then I'll go try make ammends. Anyway, this morning I slept in till 10, which has been an increasingly worrying trend. For most of the past ten years a big sleep in has been '8.30' but I guess it indicates that I am tired.

I was supposed to get up and in line with my routine cycle over to Carlton, do two laps of Princes Park, cycle home via the Yarra Trail, shower and then be here at this time to write this shit. Instead I just got up, showered, checked my email and my blog aggregator (google reader, it's the best thing google ever did) and now I'm here.

Having 'eaten desserts' first, I'm feeling pretty pumped pretty excited about my forthcoming exhibition, but I'm forcing myself to not start the finished pieces and compositions until August. Instead I'm going to spend the next couple of days doing studies, drawing, practicing drawing because past experience tells me that when I come off studies the drawings just flow.

So that's what I'm forcing myself to do. I have an even 240 studies to try and knockover before my sisters birthday Aug 1st.

Starting... right after I get something to eat.

By the way I've lost almost 5 kgs in a week. Sleeping in felt more like voluntary paralysis, maybe it's just my bodies way of telling me to slow the fuck down.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Eating Dessert First

Over the past... 5 days, I have been writing invites, specifically 215 written invites to people for my forthcoming exhibition.

It's kind of exhausting, and yet, like when I am running well, totally amazing to see just how deep the well of affection is. I mean that not in the sense of 'I have 200+ friends' but just as I go through the list I have something to write for everyone, something I appreciate about them, admire from afar, and its just the greatest exercise in the world.

In some ways the hardest to write are the ones I love most, because I've expressed it all before, and one gains an appreciation of the skill of remixing, to make timelessly old affection new again.

And obviously, obviously this is an activity with an agenda, the agenda being, I want people to come. But I want people to know how much I want them to come. It's something that I've only been able to do recently, since I've started the art thing, and I'm finally doing something I want to share with the peeps I love.

It's like its a part of me I finally want to succeed, it wasn't till I had artwork that I felt the nouse to ask anything for me. But really it's just the best fucking excuse to write everybody I can think of and tell them they mean something to me.

By comparison the drawing and inking is the painful part. Good thing I sent out all these invites, now I'm obliged to put something on show.

Eat desserts first!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Everyone is just doing their best

From the tannorexic bottle blond, to the hobo that swears at you when you decline them change, to Mitt Romney and Barrack Obama, everyone is just trying to do their best. Occasionally you get a salient moment when you realise this.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Better to have the world think your an idiot than to utilise social media to remove all doubt.

Mark Twain may have 'tweeted'. This post though isn't really about social media. It's about reachig a point where I feel just smart enough to know how truly dumb I am.

At some point in the future some friend of friend of friend studying developmental psychology may recommend my blog for benchmarking the point in which an adult brain feels smart, then developes into stupidity after achieving a certain degree of self awareness, and then hopefully becomes truly smart...

But that is just an idle hope, wishful thinking, for I don't wish to study becoming truly smart, unless that truly smart = an engineering degree.

But, recently I have almost aggressively written on this blog because I have known the flaws in my worldview before I even expressed them. I just had to power on through.

The reason being I have learned far more about reason than I used to know, and having a view on anything at the moment seems to be a subject in futility.

For example, I know about bias' like survivorship bias, recency bias, confirmation bias... and so often an argument I make is subject to one, and thus invalid.

Even on the subjective, there's Sturgeon's law: 90% of everything is crud.

This means when trying to criticise any particular genre, or artist or even compare any subjective material - eg. music from the 2000's vs music from the 90's, there is no shortage of bad examples to dredge up. Reducing any argument on the subjective, or trying to create an objective justification will simply boil down to - this is what I like and everything else is crap.

And I find it pointless to write about what I like. Because I like deconstruction, and I hate reading blogs that are in essence Amazon wish lists with commentary. I can't remember the last time I wrote a post that recommended a product... I can't remember the last time I did that in real life.

But if you take an argumentative tone like I do, the mistake was to become aware of all the formal, informal and generally accepted logical fallacies. Now I know them just well enough to catch myself having done them after I have committed them to the internet.

I don't recall the latin names as such, but there's argument by accident, the slippery slope falacy, the 'Hitler liked that therefore it must be bad', 'Winston Churchill does this therefore it must be good', virtue in poverty falacy, virtue in wealth falacy, arguments from vested interest, blinding with science...

The fact it seems to me, is that almost everything I say is fallacious, and there's simply too many holes to fall into. I seem to have thus attained a new level of understanding how little I understand.

I'll probably spend the next few years, hopefully, being the annoying person that points out logical fallacies in other peoples arguments, until I am confident enough to make arguments and have opinions again.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

fucked up

So I was dreaming and I had this dream where somebody said 'look at this' and I opened my eyes and was lying on my back in bed and there was this freaky sadistic looking blond girl looking at me, and I guess I didn't panic due to my body-mass advantage or whatever but I can't even fucking remember if it was a severed head but I was just watching and waiting to see what happened and what fucking happened was that the head dissolved and I was just lying in my room staring at nothing and I was awake.

And I'm so fucking tired I just rolled over and didn't think about it until now, two days later.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Throwing in Towel

I have decided quite simply to exercise my right to not know shit and withdraw from opining on the womens movement, feminism... see, I literally not even sure what I'm talking about.

But before I shut up, yo grama was shocked in the late 80's to discover, her daughter, yo mama was giving blowjobs to the boys in the bikeshed, and now yo mama is shocked to discover you are taking photos of yourself naked and sending them to the boys iphones.

And then the boy now hits up tumblr, and surely, surely it is then tumbled all over the internet. And wedged between these generations, I feel old. Terribly old.

Well not that old, it's a relieving kind of old.

It's easy for me to get with the times because I'm not in that youthful exuberent stage of life where the women I know might feel the need to share with me nude photographs that could first and foremostly lead to my arrest depending on respective age categories, and secondly provoke some strange temptation to share with everybody all over the internet.

Will the new 21st speech staple at a lady's age of majority be to project up that iconic sext message that was reblogged all over the net. Made anonymous by the sheer popularity of the practice, are we entering a new era where the structure of any girl's lhabia is common knowledge. A full circle from the popularity of male nakedness in Greek Antiquity?

Greer wrote 'No man desires a woman whose beauty is apparant only to him' or some shit in the female Eunuch, a sweeping generalisation, but it must have some basis when Timmy's first reaction to recieving a candid and intimate photo from his loved one is to fwd it on to his dickhead mates.

I'm a pervert, it's true, but to me 'sneaky hot' is the best kind of hot and personally detract from Greer's generalisation. But some Okcupid statistical analysis on what girls get the most messages through their services suggest that this viewpoint of mine isn't unique and 'sneaky hot' may in fact be a paradox.

It turns out men jump on women who have some devisive physical feature in the same way pensioners look for dented soup cans in the supermarket isle in the hope of getting a bargain price.

But I digress, has 'Female Chauvinist Pigs' been updated to some new addition to deal with sexting? I recall it discussed a girl who mimed felatio on a broom stick and posted a video to some boy who published it on the internet and the following increase in her popularity...

But the one passage that still sticks is the interview with a boy who said 'I'm pretty sure guys have always been into girls' and I guess that's the triumph or defeat of these trends, from dances with chaperones to blowjobs in bikesheds and toilets, to g-bangers and brazillians and DIY playboy spreads on tumblr, to vajazzling and anal bleaching... guys were into you just because you didn't have a Y-chromosome.

Is any of it necessary? Not in an absolute sense, because the average person evidently knows as much about being in a relationship as they do about being rich. I have always felt that there's some kind of pareto principal in effect as far as the energy expended on things that we think will secure a mate and things that actually secure a mate, regardless of gender.

But it's also kind of like that depressing business maxim 'if you aren't moving your shrinking.' which means you have to always grow your revenue just to be in the same position you were in yesterday. In the same sense I dare say it would be hard for a girl to make it (with guys) these days with a 'map of the ussr' rooted on their pubic bone, and having lived through the adoption of both mobile phones as necessity and g-strings as the non-menstrual underwear of choice, to the innovation of pads that can be worn with g-strings, to everybody being bored with g-strings and other cuts making a comeback... let's say that while I can't understand, I can certainly imagine a world in the next decade where anal-bleaching is considered as mandatory as brazillian waxes seem to be.

Maybe feminists call this oppression, economists would certainly describe it as inflation. Because the trends are always something that anybody can do. Furthermore they are trends that anybody can do easily. None of these regard 'natural beauty' they are all purchasable (Or in the case of giving out blowjobs, require something that more people are in possession of than disposable income). All the trends are adopted early by people wanting to use them as competitive advantages - 'I'm not as pretty as Jane, but I'm wearing a g-string.' which works until Jane buys some g-strings, Jane and Suzy, and Mary, Tracy, Sharon, Karen, Lisa, Adelle, Erica, Rebecca, Pam, Haley, Trish, Sarah, Claire and Steve have them too.

And suddenly these discretionary expenses go from discretionary to mandatory and the boys are all brought to the yard by the same milkshakes as yesteryear. Everyone just has to spend up to stand still.

That's where women have lost out, it's sort of a prisoners dilemma. Biological drivers would probably ensure a man would still court a woman even if she had thick hairs protruding from her nipples, unless of course she is the only one with hairy nipples.

In the past I have railed against the decline of male privelege with marketers attempting to sell ugliness to men and by that get the same inflation going on expensive beauty regimes, but over the years I would say that any progress made has been negligable if not laughable. Men don't pull tubes of moisturiser out of their pockets and suggest their buddies try it. The ratio of men sporting 'ironic beards' to men who regularly wear foundation is very, very, very lopsided. Even the billions of dollars spent on trying to get men to buy underwear from anywhere but Target has largely fallen on deaf ears.

I may be ignorant of what is going on in gender politics, and particularly what it is like to be a woman, or why the gender role of 'woman' is so underpriveledged, but before I retreat from the arena I observe that in our society a man following a beauty regime is probably a great predictor of anxiety, depression, narcissistic personality disorder or some kind of psychological adversity, what then does it say about us if a beauty regime that extends to the coloration of the arsehole is the status quo for women?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Einstein Factor

Was crappy low budget television for boffins. The british by the way have a word for people that have given up on being a social animal and instead obsess over knowing a whole bunch of shit about shit and this word is 'boffin'.

Anyway, I talk now about the Einstein factor not because it was good television but because of what it was. Contestants on the show nominated a category that I guess they were supposed to be the 'Einstein' of, and then were quizzed on their own area of expertise.

You would see (occassionally, for I don't know how anyone could screw their lives up so badly as to watch it regularly) contestants that would nominate as their field of expertise 'the battle of normandy' and others that would nominate 'The Lord Of The Rings' as their field of expertise.

And the one who chooses the work of fiction has this massively unfair advantage because everything that can possibly be known about the Lord of the Rings is contained within the three volumes of 'The Lord of the Rings', it is much easier to be an expert on a book, than it is to be an expert on a chapter of history given the vast diaspora and competing claims within which knowledge of some historical battle might be contained.

And this is just another Peeve in the 'God' debates, those sad and annoying yet strangely captivating plays we see played out again and again. But this one crops up at a new low of ignorance, and that is in the comments function of whatever website you stream the debate off.

The comment is something that follows thusly:

'I'm so dissappointed in "Mr. X" once again falling back on negative stereotypes of islam/judaism/christianity etc. he hasn't even bothered to read the Koran/Torah/Bible.'

How this relates to the Einstein factor is to point out the sheer asymmetry of the debates once again. The charge of 'hasn't even bothered to read scripture' is most often most applicable to religious apologists, or spiritualists etc. Because it is relatively easy to become an expert on Scripture compared to becoming an expert on Nueroscience, Theoretical Physics, Chemistry, Sociology, Philosophy etc.

Furthermore the whole discrediting point is moot, just by observing fans of popular metal act Tool. Tool fans don't like eachother, because each in turn views themselves of appreciating the intelligence of the band, yet when they turn to observe other fans, they see no evidence of intelligence and thus dismiss their fellows as 'not real Tool fans' or elavate themselves to 'real Tool fan' status.

And one would note that the Spanish Inquisition are rarely accused of having 'not even bothered to read the Bible' nor were the Taliban regime accused of having 'not even bothered to read the Koran' the generally agreed highest fidelity of the holy texts. Thus it is simply not an argument at all to accuse somebody of having not read some Holy text and realised that it intrinsically leads everybody who bothers to read it to the same holy conclusions. Because this is patently false.

A statistician trying to determine the significance of familiarity with scripture in predicting the ethical conduct of an individual would probably find no significant relationship. The most significant influence on whether you turn out to be an ethical and decent person is probably how ethical and decent your parents are and then in decreasing influence of the adults in your life.

But complaining that Harris, Dawkins or Hitchens didn't bother to read some text you believe to be the best read one could possibly have is going to be most often false, and also hypocritical because I find it rare for anybody arguing for religion to be up to speed on 20th century scientific advances, and we are now in the 21st.


I'm not sure.

I'm not sure which I am. I don't know if any of the personality-type things map onto eachother, or for example because I'm a mouse on the native american leadership wheel, that translates to INTP on the Myers-Briggs and into high S in the DiSC model etc.

So when Scott McCloud defines the 4 personality types of artists as Classicist, Formalist, Animist and Iconoclast not only do I not know what most of those words mean, I don't see the connect betwixt other personality types.

But I know what I like.

For one thing, I personally find the cutting edge overrated, extremely overrated and borderline misguided. Perhaps paradoxically, I usually find most attempts to 'break the rules' lazy and tame. Most iconoclastic works that get produced are just shit, a reiteration of the same message the Sex Pistols carved into rock - that even those without mastery should get a voice. A poigniant statement, but it has been made already. I find most iconoclasts to just be classisists of shite.

Classicist speaks to me, it is about mastery, about actually learning from the forebears and doing shit that works. I like classicist, but I fear I'm not good enough to really be one. And I'm not good enough because I don't work hard enough, but I appreciate them. I don't work hard enough because I can't get the discipline. This leads me to suspect that I'm actually an animist.

Now, do you like 'Gran Torino' or do you like 'Mystic River'? Both made by Clint Eastwood. I love Gran Torino because it involves no trickery whatsoever, it is just beautifully told. It plays on the emotions whilst foreshadowing exactly what will happen so I guess it's like watching your own life ending and having no regrets. It is a fine example of animist filmmaking. Conversely I don't like Mystic River because it uses obfuscation to make it interesting, and Chekov's gun, and none of the characters are sympathetic, and because the Chekov's gun is so conspicuous, they end up cluttering the film with shit to try and make you forget so that you wind up with a plausible-surprise at the end. The only really sympathetic character is Tim Robbins' and I guess that is probably the only real moment the movie gets you emotionally. For me the rest is just 'what the fuck am I watching?'

But people can have the absolute opposite opinion. They could also concievably use '7 pounds' and 'Gran Torino' as similar comparisons of an animist vs. iconoclast? or perhaps formalist? approach.

At any rate, I'm one of those people who likes Gran Torino, and hates 'twists'. To me, mastery of any storytelling is how long you can keep somebody listening/watching/reading beyond the point they know how it is going to end.

This for me is what elevates in my opinion a book like 'Dune Messiah', where the protagonist, whom possesses the power of prophecy predicts the outcome of the entire novel in the second chapter or something, and then you just read how it turns out and it is gruelling and agonising because the sentiments have been set up right.

Or Gran Torino, as soon as Clint Eastwood coughs up some blood, you know he is going to die, and that he is going to help out the Hmongs, but you still get upset and moved by it. Unless you are some kind of heartless monster, or somebody who really enjoys a good twist.

But I still like some iconoclasts, or rule-breakers, like China Mieville, whose books I can devour, my favorite remains 'The Scar' which was the first I read, and largely because I liked the cover art, but that book just kept concluding, it had like 7 conclusions, and unlike twists, each was just like a successive pealing back of a layer of plot.

Anyway, the point is, some people like some shit, others like other shit, and it matters not what you love or hate because in the creative world there is room for all. 

Sunday, July 08, 2012

The Natural Order?

By now if you really wanted to see 'the Avengers' movie, you could have, so I'll fucken just go ahead with spoilers. Everybody's favorite part and by everybody, I mean consensus is, where the Hulk grabs Loki whom is in the middle of a speech and smashes him repeatedly into marble flooring like he is swinging a club around.

It was the big 'laugh line' of the movie. The poncing Loki, villainous tyrant shown his place in the natural order.

Now I may be reading too deeply into things, I am often accused of doing so, but the Hulk vs. Loki moment was of widespread appeal to the audiance. These moments usually occur when they hit some resonant chord with the audience, and I put it to you that the resonent chord for people was that Loki represented 'role power' or 'legitimate power' somebody essentially handed power to fulfill some role in an organisation, a manager, supervisor, teacher etc. The hulk represented, you may be surprised but I'm going to describe it as 'political power' that is, somebody who is naturally identified as a leader and hence empowered by the people around them deferring, in the same way people are (in theory) supposed to vote for a politician to lead their community, deferring to them as more qualified.

But obviously the lingo 'political power' is going to confuse people whom may think of politicians, the very epitome of 'legitimate power' possessing increasingly, a lack of expertise, charisma or even physical strength.

So let's just call it 'darwin power'. Darwin power can be evaluated by the simple thought experiment. Whatever circumstances you are in ask yourself 'if this were the jungle/desert island/zombie apocalypse who would actually be in charge?' and even the term 'in charge' is possibly a misnomer, because darwin power amongst us social animals tends to be given rather than taken.

Now, Steven Pinker writes a book called the 'Better Angels of Our Nature' about how as we have become more civilized violence has declined in our society, even in the world. (although, you have to take the view of relative, not absolute in some cases. As in violent deaths per 100,000 people etc.)

That's good.

I'm all for the decline of violence in our society, but then allow me to show my antiquity, my neanderthal nature in saying that most times a 'bullying' story comes up in the news, I find it hard to be sympathetic for the bullied child.

Obviously there are bullying stories that are newsworthy - 'boy set on fire by bullies' etc. ones that result in physical harm and destroyed lives, need to be treated as the horrific criminal acts they are. And hopefully not to appear in the news in the future.

But, on the scale of things 'they called me terrible names.' type bullying stories, come across as close to the fantastic story of the girl whose parents are suing/tried to sue Geelong Grammer for failing to get her into Law School and somebody wonderful commented "oh oh, better call the Wahmbulance."

Now don't pin me with 'Slippery Slope' arguments, fuck you, let me finish.

It's always bothered me, honestly since fucken year 8, that civilising forces intervene in the natural order of the school yard. I equate it to that hygene theory, that if you go around killing the 99% of germs on cutting boards etc. then once your kids are placed into the fucking jungle, the bacteria will just eat the flesh off their faces.

In the same way, if a kid is just a fucken twat, and I mean, are so stupid that when they say something dumb and annoying to a year 12, and that year 12 calls them back some name, and they are too fucking dumb to even get how clever the year 12's retort was, and they keep on saying twat things, then I mean it gets up my nose.

The fucking kid should instinctively keep their mouths shut for fear of being smacked in the face. In accordance with darwinian power, but instead the year 12 instinctively endures the stupidity, for fear of the legitimate power invested in the school that act as the peacekeepers.

Now, I'm in favor of rules, I'm also in favor of rule breaking. Or rather a recognition that the rules are unlikely to be created that they are perfectly applicable all the time.

For example, I will defer to my manager, might be a rule, but it also assumes that the appointment of the manager was done correctly. I will obey the law, is also a good general rule, but it presumes that the ways laws are made are done correctly, free from corruption etc.

Furthermore, wherever you have 'legitimate' or 'role' power, you are going to find heavy competition for those very roles from people who don't possess any 'darwinian' power.

The old bullshit of 'power corrupts' or whatever, it's just whenever you formalise power, you are going to attract corrupted people. And everybody gets fucked over.

So those kids, those kids that were the children of teachers at the school they attended always seemed to highly correlate with the biggest twats, and the moment you remove them from their protected environment into real world situations are done a huge disservice because in my hair brained theory, they haven't built up that memetic immune system known(?) as transferrable social skills.

They don't know how not to get their ass not beat.

Saturday, July 07, 2012


I fucking hate pretentiousness. If I had to fill out a questionnaire for some poppy-culturelike magazine in the 'turn-offs' section I would put 'pretentiousness'.

But an episode of Qi, feautured an interesting law whose name I can't remember but it was the answer to the question 'how can you tell if you're incompetent?' being 'you can't.' it is one of those paradoxes but if you actually possessed the level of expertise to predict your incompetence you would have the level of expertise to be competent, indeed, even an expert.

And I got to thinking, does the same apply to pretentiousness? I've always had a thing about pretentiousness, I'm sure I engage in many pretentious behaviours, blogging for one, but there's just a bunch of shit....

Look, Dylan Moran in one of his comedy specials once said 'I have limited sympathy for heroin users, you would think they would have heard something bad about it by now.' and I mean there's shit to me that just seems so obviously pretentious - francophilia, the love of all things French, surely by now people would realise that there obsession with the sophistication of the French and their anamorment with it would come across as pretentious?

Objecting to Starbucks on the quality of their coffee, is another sure giveaway. Buying your Murakami books from Readings instead of Boarders, when Boarders was still open was another one. Opining about wine, Slum tourism, Wearing a scarf, Using country of origin names instead of English translations, Inaccessible music, Reiterating Michael Moore movies as your own opinion at dinner parties...

Which isn't to say any of these things are intrinsically bad, but just like you will see clustered traits in say a left winger (opposes death penalty, supports abortion) and right wingers (opposes abortion, supports death penalty) you see clusters of behaviour that make being pretentious seem like people have made a choice to be that way.

I am going to construct a pretense of sophistication.

And that's the deal, pretentious people rub me the wrong way because they seem to hold an inflexible verticle heirarchy in their mind of things that are really quite subjective.

My response is always passive aggressive, I probably can help it, I just haven't found sufficient motivation to try. But I get really anti-intellectual. To me the rules transgressed (or alternatively, obeyed) seem so obvious, I find the response obvious as well - say deliberately ignorant things in order to upset people.

'Homesexuality is a choice, and a terrible one at that.'
'Europe? Europe is shit, America is the birthplace of culture.'
'Manga is shit.'
'The West Wing is Shit.'
'Obama is shit.'
'Reading is shit.'
'I don't drink coffee, it's shit.'

You get the idea. I always assumed though, that I was in the wrong, as an old and somewhat pretentious housemate of mine wrote a paper on, I had agency over an act I myself considered evil.

I guess I assume that pretentiousness is a relative scale, like I might find somebody passing off Michael Moore movies as both a) factual and b) their own opinion, pretentious, Chomsky or Dawkins or Harris or Q-tip (the Abstract) etc. might find my garbled and lazy attempts to emulate their opinions as pretentious.

But then other people think pretentiousness is some kind of absolute measure. I wonder if any sociologists or fucken psychologists have published on the most susceptible group to pretentiosness. I know the fast show did that 'I'm so middle class' recurring sketch, and I think I have somewhere in the past probably described pretentiosness as 'the dumb kind of smart' but that generally puts me in the mind of boffins or conservatives and often both.

This I will say, the case for pretentiousness is probably circumstantial, for example treating Australian culture with disdain doesn't make you pretentious. There are many legitimate reasons to treat Australian culture with disdain. Reading Haruku Murakami doesn't make you pretentious, you may read other books too. Paying too much for underwear doesn't make you pretentious, you could be trying to arouse somebody you are sleeping with. Dressing in business attire to attend marketing classes probably does make you pretentious in a hole-in-one sense.

But in most cases you probably need to collect four or five strikes against you before you can be called pretentious. And maybe the cumulative nature of these traits mean there's no obvious 'Oh my god, I crossed a line, I'm pretentious!' moment, you are just queitly enjoying a glass of wine and reading a 'Graphic Novel' about growing up in Iran infront of the fire place when you switch on the television to catch this weeks Q&A which riles you up so much that you need to throw on 'The West Wing' just to enjoy an escapist moment into a model of leadership you believe in and in this episode the speech writers are discussing the nuances of writing a speech, bravo!

And while aside from 'Q&A' there is nothing intrinsically worth disliking about any of the things you enjoyed that evening, they just snowballed into a perfect storm of pretense. And of course like hard core pornography, probably everybody does it from time to time, it's just certain people seem compelled to advertise the fact.

Minoritisation vs Affirmative Action

So concept 1: Equal Opportunity

That is the ideal world where one has the opportunity to succeed or fail based soley on their merits in any given field regardless of where they stand in terms of race, gender, creed or membership to a professional institution.

concept 2: Affirmative Action

The recognition that the world is not ideal, and thus putting in place a positive bias to create more opportunity for those who generally have less opportunity given where they stand in terms of race, gender, creed, class or membership to a professional institution. Eg. recognising that due to entrenched cross-generational poverty, an ethnic minority thus has less access to quality education and is given a lower threshold to obtain quality education (whereever that can be found). With the view to in time create equal oportunity aka an ideal world.

concept 3: Minoritisation

The celebration of mediocrity in order to pretend the world is ideal, thus subscribing to the view that merits that do not actually exist, exist creating cognitive dissonance between the officially recognised performance and the subjective experience of the performance. Specifically the celebration of mediocrity based on somebodies membership to a minority (race, gender, creed, class, left handedness... etc.) or the wilfull suppression of honest feedback in view of being percieved as discriminatory.

Affirmative action takes the form of scholarships, training programs, tax breaks, guarunteed entry, mentorship etc.

Minoritisation takes the form of subconscious condescention.

The first two concepts I'm all like 'Heyeah!' the third concept I'm all like 'that's fucking annoying.'

Wednesday, July 04, 2012


Since I'm ranting on subjective subjects, I thought I would have a bitch about a particularly annoying behaviour that I've only just discovered a name for.

My dear sweet friend Bryce has been highly influential in my thinking on this matter for uttering something about Australian music, when I was complaining about the station he ran have a dedicated Australian music program - in the breakfast slot.

"I don't think Australian music should be celebrated for being Australian, it should be celebrated for being good."

So at one point or another I had a job which was not the job I had now in a workplace where there were perceptions and certainly I would attest evidence of sexism going on. What annoyed me though, were the women. Hear me out.

Thus thusly, imagine thus: a woman goes away on holiday and their duties are taken on by a male collegue, the male collegue is a ball of stress, a pain to deal with, disorganised, incommunicative and although they get the job done, they make it a dramatic and ineffecient nightmare until their female supervisor goes away.

I would suggest the social norm would be some manager saying 'and let's all thank Steven for taking on a very difficult task on top of his usual duties.' followed by polite clapping. And then behind Steven's back everyone would say things to the effect of 'he was crap, thank god Lafawnda is back.'

Reverse the genders though (keeping the job performance the same), and at the same briefing where the manager says 'let's all thank Juliet for taking on Charlton's job while he was on a sex tour of thailand.' and then a well meaning female colleague would pipe up 'she did a fantastic job, she kicked arse!' and drums everybody up into a socially mandatory rousing applause.

What has just happened?

Everybody has condescendingly just applauded somebody for doing a crap job, because they are female. I can't recall the specific context of these behaviours, but they were recurring and frankly sad.

I believe though this is called minoritisation.

Put simply, I think in everything there's going to be a global benchmark, comedy, music, management, public speaking, sport etc. and any individual's goal is to live up to that benchmark in whatever field of excellence they are pursuing.

Of course gender, race and ethnicity issues exist, and some counterbalance needs to be taken to overcome the discouragement present in society due to sexism and racism. All change has to start with what we have, and what we have is sexist and racist.

To me though this looks like Jenny getting up and making a speech that is nervous and badly delivered with low eye-contact, awkward stance, too much reading etc. and instead of an encouraging round of applause and saying 'good job Jenny!' you say 'Jenny that was poorly done, you are going to have to do more speeches in the future and we will train you up.'

I must admit, I don't know what affirmative action is. Minoritisation though concerns me. It's allowing people to succeed when they should have failed. It will result in nothing but ultimately cementing sexist stereotypes.

If you are watching a female comedian and she is dying on stage. Walk out. Don't force your laughter, you will just fuck them up for life. But by no means do I advocate, not letting women take the mic to deliver a comedy act.

What I'm saying is that denying people the opportunity to fail is the same as denying people the opportunity to succeed.

You are organising a comedy gala, and you have 10 spots to fill, you notice that with the 8 spots you have filled thus far they are all male. What to do?

If you can find 10 good female comics, put on 10 good female comics, but I would suggest that having 8 good male comics and 2 mediocre female comics is a deceptive step backwards. The affirmative action only serves to reinforce 'women aren't funny'.

Whereas if you held off and waited for those world class acts - Tina Fey, Sarah Silverman, Joan Rivers, Judith Lucy, Hannah Gadsby, Ronni Ancona etc. you eliminate the one true advantage all Male comics have - the shitty male comics don't get on TV.

Yes, minoritisation. If you are a man in this world and you don't belong to a 'minority' then you are held to a global standard of comedy, the ability to put people into that empathic place where they laugh with surprise and delight, and not a fierce loyalty to the local boy.

Once you identify a different standard for yourself, or worse, for somebody you identify with, you are doing them a disservice.

It annoys the living fuck out of me.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Stuff that is just plain shit

I am becoming increasingly unable to speak about stuff I don't like. Maybe this is how megalomania starts, you take a relatively tolerant person who eventually has their subjectivity collapse under the pressure to not appear parochial or worse, and eventually they just want to invade Poland and dictate to people what you do or don't like without struggling to justify it in any way shape or form.

For example, what I've noticed is thatit is harder to talk to somebody my own age about how shit hipsters are, without them getting nervous and saying 'you sound like an old person,' etc. And you wind up self censoring.

Another example is when wanting to make disparaging comments about specifically - how strange and foreign the Indian concept of what a 'cool guy' consists of. Even there I self censored. What I really mean is how 'bad' the calling cards of the Bollywood leading man are. In my minds eye, of course, what makes for an Alpha-hipster (male or female) is still infinitely worse. But... you know, I have to make subjective rankings in my head.

You know, I'm talking about something as superficial as coolness. In my head I can rank a bunch of Asian countries in coolness, making a presumption about their international appeal - for the record - Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and China.

And these are in no way reflections of anything else, such as economic management, political freedom, dominant religious practices etc. Or anything beyond what it is, which is saying 'it's uncool'.

In the same way, it is not invalid to say that Bertrand Russell was an uber philosopher and brilliant mathematician, and allegedly had really bad breath. It is not to say Bertrand Russell was not one of the most fascinating people you could ever talk to, it just says you didn't want to be too close when you did.

I mean Hipsters are reviled, and I don't think anybody understands them. But if I said - Punk, Goths, Hipsters, Hippies, Bootscooters, Metal, Rap, Shoegazing, Indie, Emo, Bohemian... you could probably rank them.

Anyone could. And ranks probably wouldn't be identical, but I'm sure there would be clear trends. I was always a fan of Tim something something's radio presenting on SYN fm because his functional definition of an angry person was somebody who walked around a supermarket yelling 'things cost more than they used to.' And apparantly Euclid or Socretes or some ancient Greek mouthed the exact same thing about young people as we still say of young people and we are expected to be learned and wiser and progressing as a species.

But there must be another side to the story of subjective appraisal.

For one, there are people who earn quite good compensation for making subjective judgements. I'm not talking about cool hunters or market researchers. I'm talking about people like Steve Jobs, whom never I am lead to understand used market researchers to find out what customers wanted. Or directors like Christopher Nolan, whom are retained despite having to have arguments about affectations like the use of CGI or 3D in filming a Batman franchise.

Apparantly investment used to be more art than science at some stage, people picking winners and selling losers based on hunches and intuitions. Now 'quants' poor over figures and construct competer models to infallibly make investment decisions for them, unswayed by emotions, superstitions or intuitive thinking.

I feel, perhaps controversially, but almost certainly because I read a few books by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, that investment is better off being treated as an art than a science. The markets defy scientific analysis, it cannot produce sure bets from enough analysis.

In the same way, I hope fashion design, and all the creative arts remain arts rather than sciences. For example, I'm sure one can do a bunch of research as to why the Indian models endorsing Lancome products on TV have strong upperclass english accents, the historical precedents, culture, media penetration by what nations, etc. But I personally would feel hypocritical if I laughed at pictures of David Hasselhoff and Chuck Norris' ill concieved 'so bad it's good' modelling portfolio, and didn't laugh at a Bollywood leading man for effecting the exact same look. (Mullet, trimmed beard, day glo coloured clothing etc.)

For two, over time social trends must change. Greeks may have complained about the 'youth today' in Antiquity, but how old were the youth complained about? James May, the best of the top gear presenters did a show about teenagers, which are a relatively new phenomena. Basically before the invention of the transistor radio, families gathered around pianos, or the big clunky radio in the living room and all sat around as Dad smoked a pipe listening to the same music. Teenagers thusly didn't really exist.

They only got called 'teenagers' when they became a viable market to sell stuff too. And that was only when you could sufficiently target music to them. So you could have stations that played Elvis Presley that would be listened to for reasons nobody really understood at the time, by people under the age of 20, and then have another station that played Classical, that people under the age of 20 weren't much interested in at all.

That's probably factually inaccurate, but the point is, the environment we live in does change. The experience of being 18 is probably radically different to my experience of being 18. My parents can remember not having colour tvs, or tvs at all. The difference between my parents and I in age is about 30 years, but consider that to a person just 5 years my junior, half a decade, they can't remember a time when your internet engaged your landline, or when kids didn't have mobile phones in school, they can probably remember when mobile phones and cameras were two seperate devices, and when you had an ipod and a mobile, in just the same way as I remember reading somebody who is my age now when I was 16 bemoaning how they had to steal their pornography whereas now you can't turn around on a 12 year old with a computer without turning back to see them looking at a german woman eating shit.

The times they are a changing, tweens exist now, they didn't a decade ago. People regularly live into their 80s, our elders didn't use to be so old. Between 1950-2005(?) most music was distributed in physical copy, meaning people listened to whole albums by artists. Has the proportion of music bought as a single increased or decreased? Do people own physical albums anymore? Crowdsourcing has become more viable, record companies have collapsed, piracy has exploded as has downloading, file sharing and any band anywhere can distribute their stuff to the world. Do none of these changes not allow the possibility that the next generation of kids may be into genuinelly shit stuff?

He likes chocolate, he likes vanilla. Is there no basis to say Skrillex is not as good as Aphex Twin?

I know there are subjective biases. For example, on any youtube video of a music clip that is say 3 years old or more, you will find a comment to the effect of 'I remember when music was good, todays music is shit' and I'm sure the sheer frequency of this phenomena tends to be that we are fans of the music of our youth by convenience rather than merit, and that we also tend to compare say the 90's by thinking of the best examples of an entire decade, and then comparing it to last weeks top 20 songs by downloads from itunes or other royalty paying sites. Almost certainly all 20 songs of last weekend will be forgotten to have existed by 2015.

But who cares? Who fucken cares. It's subjective. I hated the Emo's and I hate the Hipsters. But I know people older than me that loved the Emo's but hated the Hipsters. I know a surprising number of hipsters who hate hipsters. They are opinions, and they may arise from tendencies and biases as old as the dawn of time. But expressing them doesn't need to be justified, nor does it make them invalid.

Somebody famously said in 1923 or something, 'everything that could be invented has been invented' and certainly it seems a foolish gamble to take now, but that doesn't mean this statement will always be invalid. It's an objectively falsifiable statement at that. Subjective opinions aren't invalid, and I mean, you can point out that I sound just like the pipe smoking 40 year old of the 1960's tut-tutting my hippy children, but you'll note that fashion today now imitates the pipe smoking 40 year olds of the 1960's (or more accurately the wardrobe department of Mad Men) and that many of the criticisms of hippies were valid. Just as their movement enriched our culture so too did it bring its fair share of the cultural equivalent of STIs.